Jeffrey Dahmer was responsible for a series of gruesome murders of 17 young men from 1988 until he was caught on July 22, 1991, in Milwaukee.
Dahmer's Childhood Years
Dahmer was born on May 21, 1960, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Lionel and Joyce Dahmer. From all accounts Dahmer was a happy child who enjoyed typical toddler activities. It was not until the age of six, after undergoing hernia surgery, that his personality began to change from a jubilant social child to a loner who was uncommunicative and withdrawn. His facial expressions transformed from childhood smiles to a motionless blank stare, a look which remained with him throughout his life.
In 1966, the Dahmers moved to Bath, Ohio. Dahmer's insecurities grew after the move and his shyness kept him from having many friends. While his peers were busy listening to the latest songs, Dahmer was busy collecting road kill and stripping the animal carcasses and saving the bones.
Other idle time was spent alone, buried deep inside his fantasies. His nonconfrontational attitude with his parents was considered an attribute yet in reality it was his apathy towards the real world that made him appear obedient.
Disturbing High School Years
Dahmer continued being a loner during his years at Revere High School. He had average grades, worked on the school newspaper and developed a bad drinking problem. His parents, possibly distracted from their own struggles, divorced when Jeff was almost 18. He remained living with his father who traveled a lot and was busy nurturing a relationship with his new wife.
After high school Dahmer enrolled at the Ohio State University and spent most of his time skipping classes and getting drunk. After two semesters he dropped out and returned home. His father issued him an ultimatum - get a job or join the Army. In 1979 he enlisted for six years into the Army, but his drinking continued and in 1981, after serving only two years, he was discharged because of his drunken behavior.
Unknown to anyone, Jeffery Dahmer was mentally disintergrating. In June of 1988, he was struggling with his own homosexual desires, mixed with his need to act out his sadistic fantasies. Perhaps this struggle is what pushed him to pick up a hitchhiker, 19-year-old Steven Hicks. He invited Hicks to his father's home and the two drank and engaged in sex, but when Hicks was ready to leave Dahmer bashed him in the head with a barbell and killed him.
He then cut up the body, placing the parts in garbage bags, which he buried in the woods surrounding his father's property. Years later he returned and dug up the bags and crushed the bones and disbursed the remains around the woods. As insane as he had become, he had not lost site of the need to cover his murderous tracks. Later his explanation for killing Hicks was simply, he didn't want him to leave.
Dahmer spent the next six years living with his grandmother in West Allis, Wisconsin. He continued drinking heavily and stayed in trouble with the police. In August 1982, he was arrested after exposing himself at a state fair. In September 1986, he was arrested and charged with public exposure after masturbating in public. He served 10 months in jail, but was arrested soon after his release after sexually fondling a 13-year-old boy in Milwaukee. He was given five-years probation after convincing the judge that he needed therapy.
His father, unable to understand what was happening to his son, continued to stand by him, making certain he had good legal councel. He also began to accept that there was little he could do to help the demons which seemed to rule Dahmer's behavior. He realized that his son was missing a most basic human element - a conscience.
In September 1987, while on probation on the molestation charges, Dahmer met 26-year-old Steven Toumi and the two spent the night drinking heavily and cruising gay bars, then went to a hotel room. When Dahmer awoke from his drunken stupor he found Toumi dead.
Dahmer put Toumi's body into a suitcase which he took to his grandmother's basement. There he discarded the body in the garbage after dismembering it, but not before gratifying his sexual necrophilia desires.
Unlike most serial killers, who kill then move on to find another victim, Dahmer's fantasies included a series of crimes against the corpse of his victims, or what he referred to as passive sex. This became part of his regular pattern and possibly the one obsession that pushed him to kill.
On His Own
Killing his victims in his grandmother's basement was becoming increasingly difficult to hide. He was working as a mixer at Ambrosia Chocolate Factory and could afford a small apartment, so in September 1988, he got a one bedroom apartment on North 24th St. in Milwaukee.
Dahmer's killing spree continued and for most of his victims the scene was the same. He would meet them at a gay bar or mall and entice them with free alcohol and money if they agreed to pose for photographs. Once alone, he would drug them, sometimes torture them and then kill them usually by strangulation. He would then masturbate over the corpse or have sex with the corpse, cut the body up and get rid of the remains. He also kept parts of the bodies including the skulls, which he would clean much like he did with his childhood road kill collection and often refrigerated organs which he would on occasion eat.
Name - Age - Date Murdered
- Stephen Hicks - 18 - June, 1978
- Steven Tuomi - 26 - September, 1987
- Jamie Doxtator - 14 - October, 1987
- Richard Guerrero - 25 - March, 1988
- Anthony Sears - 24 - February, 1989
- Eddie Smith - 36 - June, 1990
- Ricky Beeks - 27 - July, 1990
- Ernest Miller - 22 - September, 1990
- David Thomas - 23 - September, 1990
- Curtis Straughter - 16 - February, 1991
- Errol Lindsey - 19 - April, 1991
- Tony Hughes - 31 - May 24, 1991
- Konerak Sinthasomphone - 14 - May 27, 1991
- Matt Turner - 20 - June 30, 1991
- Jeremiah Weinberger - 23 - July 5, 1991
- Oliver Lacy - 23 - July 12, 1991
- Joseph Bradeholt - 25 - July 19, 1991